Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Natural Bridge, VA

  • Published 2023/03/08

Natural Bridge is a small unincorporated community in Rockbridge County, Virginia.

You can find Natural Bridge there, a natural arch and the community’s namesake.

Its location in the mountains and greenery provides many activities with nature and wildlife native to the community.

Interested to know more about this place?

Here are the best things to do in Natural Bridge, VA:

Admire Nature at Natural Bridge State Park

The natural bridge at Natural Bridge State Park

Seth Lively /

The Natural Bridge State Park is the home of the natural rock formation that inspired the community’s namesake.

The Natural Bridge is around 215-feet tall and is about 500 million years old.

It’s the piece de resistance of the entire park, a sight that would make anyone say wow.

Cedar creek trail at Natural Bridge State Park

William Silver /

You can also find beautiful trails, bodies of water, and various flora and fauna surrounding the over 1,500-acre expanse.

Visitors can hike over six miles of trails, including the Cedar Trail, which encompasses all routes in the park.

The state park is also a venue for select community events year-round, from fairs to art demonstrations and even yoga classes.

The Natural Bridge State Park is a great place to admire the beauty of nature in Natural Bridge, Virginia.

Cascade creek falls at Natural Bridge State Park

James St. John, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

See the Animals at Natural Bridge Zoo

Animal lovers should spend the day at Natural Bridge Zoo.

Since 1972, the privately owned zoo has housed various animals, including endangered species.

The zoo’s owners and caretakers are passionate about the education and preservation of local wildlife.

Explore and see all the animals in the zoo, including alligators, tigers, giraffes, zebras, pythons and flamingos.

You can even ride the elephants.

There are also petting zoos for little kids who want to see animals up close.

Enter Jurassic Park at Dinosaur Kingdom II

Dinosaur sculpture beside Dinosaur Kingdom II welcome sign

Katherine Bowman, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Those interested in dinosaurs and ancient reptiles will love Dinosaur Kingdom II.

The park showcases quirky wooden replicas of different dinosaurs, making visitors feel like they’re in Jurassic Park.

Different panels showcase dinosaur life millions of years ago, featuring pictures and illustrations.

It’s a cute little stopover across the Natural Bridge Zoo that makes for great family photos.

Book a Room at the Herring Hall Bed and Breakfast

Built in the 1800s, the Herring Hall Bed and Breakfast is another majestic old-world gem in the heart of Natural Bridge.

The family-owned hotel has been under the same hands for over three generations.

Experience warm Virginian hospitality and the beauty of the preserved architecture of the premises.

Take your pick of the three guest rooms decorated in the Classic Colonial Style.

Since the place is also an ancestral home, you can see various family heirlooms and Herring history on the house’s walls and hallways.

Enjoy your stay at this classic abode with the Virginia greenery as your background.

Marvel at the Caverns at Natural Bridge

Close view of Caverns at Natural Bridge's rock formation

Dmitriy Ryabin /

One of the most popular attractions in Natural Bridge is the Caverns, a unique attraction.

The caverns were discovered at the turn of the 20th century and formed roughly more than a few hundred years ago.

The attraction opened to the public in 1977.

It’s also open seasonally for viewing and exploration.

Mirror lake in Caverns at Natural Bridge

Hollie, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Slow-moving water formed the caverns, expanding the cracks and cavities of the mountain into gaping passages.

Natural deposits from the earth create the caverns that thousands of people flock to visit today.

Join the guided tours of the 34-story expanse of the caverns; witness the natural stalactite and stalagmite formations shaped through the centuries.

Sample the Local Brews at Chaos Mountain Brewing Station

Since 1998, the Chaos Mountain Brewing Station is a proudly Virginian brewery serving unique brews.

Their main brewery is near Callaway, but their taproom and tasting area are in Natural Bridge.

Their 3,000-square-foot tasting room is a great place to relax and sample their brews.

Try all the 16 beers on tap, or grab little samples to see which one you prefer.

Play a round of pool while visiting, or join their little events, such as trivia nights and live music nights.

They also have food trucks parked in their yard, featuring barbeques, wraps, tacos, seafood and even vegetarian fare.

The Chaos Mountain Brewing Stations is the perfect place to chill and relax with family and friends in Natural Bridge.

Go Back to the 1950s at the Pink Cadillac Diner

Exterior of the Pink Cadillac Diner

Joseph Sohm /

Go back to the swinging 50s at the Pink Cadillac Diner.

The diner offers American favorites in that classic diner atmosphere.

Elvis memorabilia also deck the walls of the old-school diner along with a jukebox, completing that vintage feel.

A pink vehicle beside the Pink Cadillac Diner

Joseph Sohm /

Try tasty favorites like the Elvis Burger and smoked prime rib, certified local favorites.

They also host occasional live music nights, featuring impersonators of the King of Rock and Roll himself.

Shop Local at NattyBCafé and Natural Bridge General Store

The NattyB Café and Natural Bridge General Store is a family-owned deli, café and bakery serving homemade pastries and brews.

Don’t pass up the chance to try some fresh sweets baked daily, like carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and apple pie.

Order some hearty meals from the menu, such as the roast beef sandwich or tuna melt.

Before heading out, pop by their mini-market to buy some locally-made jams and jellies for your home sandwiches.

Also, mingle with the locals popping by for their regulars.

Feel the community vibe on your visit to the NattyB Café and Natural Bridge General Store.

See Virginia Wildlife at the Virginia Safari Park

The Virginia Safari Park allows visitors to get up close and personal with wildlife in their natural habitat.

The park is a 180-acre stretch of wilderness that features different walk and drive-through attractions.

Enter the Safari Drive-Through on your vehicle to see the different animals roaming around freely on park grounds.

See the cute deer, giraffes, and llamas approach you with their friendly demeanors.

There’s also the Village Walk-Through, where you can see the tiger and cheetah from a safe distance.

The walk-through also features penguins and kangaroos.

The park also offers opportunities for encounters with rhinos, penguins and sloths.

Visitors can pet, feed, and see them up close.

The Virginia Safari Park is undoubtedly a fun and unique experience for animal lovers exploring the beauty of Virginia wildlife.

Try a Cider at Halcyon Days Cider Co.

Just off the Lee Highway is the Halcyon Days Cider Co., a proud maker of local cider in the Natural Bridge area.

Within the humble expanse of the property is a family-owned farm and cidery.

Their ciders use 100% Virginia apples, resulting in unique brews like Lil’ Rascal, Midas’ Touch and Occam’s Razor.

Enjoy these brews in their charming cidery.

Enter a wooden cabin decked out in the 1860s style and enjoy a drink after a long day.

Take a bottle home and enjoy your stop at Halcyon Days Cider Co.

Cool Off by Lace Falls

The rushing waters of Lace Falls

The Old Major /

Lace Falls is an alluring 30-feet attraction, rewarding hikers at the end of the hike of Cedar Trail.

Apart from the Natural Bridge, thousands of people flock to see the beauty of the falls.

Stone seat area near Lace Falls

vastateparksstaff, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Relax and cool off by the falls after the long hike.

It’s also an excellent place for photo opportunities to commemorate your visit.

Stay at the Historic Inn at Forest Oaks

Stay at the majestic Historic at Forest Oaks, an old mansion-turned-hotel located on Houston Tavern Lane.

Built in the 19th century, the building and its interiors have been preserved to showcase the look and atmosphere of the 1800s.

Stay in one of the six guestrooms, each showcasing traditional turn-of-the-century interiors.

You can also bring your family to the Vine Cottage, with over five bedrooms and two bathrooms.

The common areas also beam with majesty, making you feel like you’re roaming the halls of the Downton Abbey estate.

Make your stay in Natural Bridge a memorable one at the Historic Inn at Forest Oaks.

Savor Handcrafted Brews at the Great Valley Farm Brewery and Winery

Try all the different varieties of beers and wines brewed right on the Great Valley Farm estate.

For beers, get the Imperial Honey Brown, Coffee Stout and Hibiscus Wit.

For wines, sample the sweet Chambourcin Rose or the more full-bodied Red Blend.

The farm also hosts pocket events on the grounds, perfect for socializing and trying the brews with friends.

Join the Great Valley Farm’s Wine Club to enjoy a selection of top wines for the months shipped right to your doorstep.

Membership gives you 10% off purchases made in the taproom.

Pick a Pear at the Virginia Gold Orchard

Paul and Youngsuk Estabrook opened the Virginia Gold Orchard in 1990.

Today, it grows over 16 varieties of Asian pears.

The orchard features over 5,000 Asian pear trees.

The orchard also sets aside two acres for testing and sharing information with the Department of Agriculture Research Station.

Youngsuk herself created over 25 hybrid varieties of pears.

Roam the orchard’s grounds, seeing the pears grow and blossom from seed to fruit.

You can also purchase freshly picked fruits from the trees and local peaches, plums, nectarines, apples, and pumpkins.

Likewise, grab pantry staples like homemade jams, wild honey, and hand-pressed vinegar.

Enjoy the best of Virginia on your visit to the Virginia Gold Orchard.

View the Impressive Lights at the Drama of Creation

The Drama of Creation is not a dramatic show or performance, as the name implies.

This event is a lights installation show in Natural Bridge State Park that started in 1927.

President Calvin Coolidge spearheaded the inauguration of the show before Lightswitch took over in the present years.

This show illuminated the bridge’s arch in vivid colors of purple, green, red, and more!

It’s a must-experience if you prefer a nighttime destination in Natural Bridge.

The 30-minute Drama of Creation only takes place from March to October, so make sure you keep your calendars marked.

Hike Along Monacan Trail

Ready for a challenging hiking or biking excursion?

Get your outfit and gear ready because the Monacan Trail might just be the trail you’re looking for.

This 3.3 mile offers the best of many worlds—or habitats, to be precise.

Along its route, find stunning open meadows and stream ravines within dense forests.

This makes it the home to many wildlife species both on land and in water.

The trail also gives you access to the striking limestone arch of Natural Bridge and the Monacan Indian Village.

Monacan Trail is within Natural Bridge State Park on South Lee Highway.

But to reach its trailhead, head over to US Highway 11.

Watch a Weekly Race at Natural Bridge Speedway

Natural Bridge Speedway is your ultimate destination if you’re into racecar driving.

This 3/8-mile oval track opened in 1954.

Back then, the track only catered to stock cars in its dirt track speedway.

Several years later, this speedway is one of the most famous of its kind in the Shenandoah Valley.

From weekly race sprints and junior competitions to the big leagues, you have many chances to see what dirt track racing is like during racing season at this site.

To get to Natural Bridge Speedway, drive along North Dry Well Road.

Feel Inspired by the Decorated Trees at the Festival of Trees

The Festival of Trees is an annual holiday celebration for many residents and tourists visiting Natural Bridge.

This month-long celebration gathers local organizations as they decorate a tree that represents them.

Browse through a variety of trees of all shapes, sizes, colors, and decorations.

If you can, join in on the fun by donating to your chosen organization, too!

This event is also a community tradition, so don’t miss it for the world!

Natural Bridge State Park on South Lee Highway hosts the Festival of Trees at the end of the year.

Take Your Kid for a Walk along Skyline Trail

Unlike most trails in Natural Bridge State Park, Skyline Trail is one of the easiest routes to hike.

This is why many families with little kids traverse this route.

It spans 0.6 miles.

Though it may be short for the average hiker, its wildlife opportunities are abundant.

One of its common wildlife sightings is bluebirds because of the nests placed within parts of the trail.

Skyline Trail is also famous for its scenic overlooks and picnic-friendly amenities.

You can get to this trail from Golf Course Road.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Learn about Native American History at Monacan Village

A hut at Monacan Village

vastateparksstaff, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located within the expanse of the Natural Bridge State Park is the Monacan Village, showcasing the history of the indigenous people that lived in the area over 300 years ago.

The area is a re-creation of the traditional villages occupied by the Monacans, highlighting their way of life and traditional practices.

People touring the Monacan Village

vastateparksstaff, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visitors can see the Monacans’ building materials and techniques to create their homes and businesses.

The village is an excellent way for tourists to be educated on the culture and heritage of the Monacan tribe.

Fire area at Monacan Village

vastateparksstaff, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Final Thoughts

Natural Bridge is a great place to visit for those looking for a taste of nature and the great outdoors.

There are so many unique experiences for people when they make the trip out to this small but exciting community.

What are you waiting for?

Book your trip to Natural Bridge, VA today!

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